Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.
I should not get as giddy as I do when a new Mercy Watson book appears, but goodness they are fun! Frankly, if Kate DiCamillo had only done Mercy Watson books, I would adore her just as much. The fact that she also wrote such incredible books for older readers as Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux is amazing! Alright enough gushing!
In this fourth Mercy Watson book, the Watsons decide that Mercy should celebrate Halloween. They mention treats to Mercy and Mercy immediately agrees to join in the fun, picturing stacks of buttery toast as her treats. Mrs. Watson creates a very pink, very flouncy princess dress for Mercy while Mr. Watson finds her a tiara. Mercy has no interest in the costume itself, but the temptation of treats convince her to step into the dress. But when Mercy finds that there is no toast involved in trick-or-treating she is quite disappointed, until she discovers a buttery candy and then there is no stopping the cavorting and rampaging that starts. As always the book ends with a stack of buttery toast, but not until after quite a bit of wild romping.
If you haven’t enjoyed any of the other Mercy Watson books, run right out and get the first three. Van Dusen’s art starts at the very cover and carries through with lush colors, a fifties feel, and great design down to the page numbers. Take a few moments to admire the Halloween decor at the Watson’s house. The detail is flawlessly funny. DiCamillo has managed to create a series that can be read aloud to the picture book crowd but is also welcoming for young readers to tackle.
Highly recommended to read aloud to ages 3-6 and as a solo read for slightly older children or precocious readers. The content is very child-friendly and appropriate for all ages.